This is a soup my Russian grandmother used to make. It’s all vegetables, no meat and served ice cold! It’s the Russian version of Spanish gazpacho and salamorejo!
You can add more of the ingredients you prefer. It’s slightly sweet sour, but you can add more of the vinegar and sugar if you want. Garlic, green onion and dill are other strong flavors you can increase. If you want a chunkier soup, add more beets and cukes!
No sour cream in this recipe!
The cold borsht above has the leaves and stems. The borsht below does not have them.
6 beets with stems and greens (you can omit the greens and stems and use 8 beets)
3 cucumbers, not too thick because those are seedy
8 green onions
1 bunch dill fronds, left whole
2 very large cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons white wine or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1. Trim the beet stems and leaves from the beet root. Wash all thoroughly in a sink of cold water. Scrub the beet roots with a brush.
2. In a very large pot, place the whole scrubbed beet roots and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until a fork can just slightly be inserted. Don’t over cook. They should be slightly crisp.
4. Place a mesh strainer lined with a paper towel or coffee filter over a large bowl. Pour the beet water over the filter into the bowl. Reserve strained beet water and cool. This is the broth. There should be about 8 cups or so.
To make a filter, fold a paper towel in half crosswise and in half again.
5. Cut up the beet stems into 3 inch lengths. Cut the larger greens in 1/2 or 1/4s. Place stems and greens in a medium pot. Add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Simmer only a minute or so. Strain the liquid through the paper toweling and reserve the greens and stems in a bowl to cool.
9. Mince the very large clove of garlic. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the 2 tablespoons of salt and mince to a paste. Reserve.
10. In a very large bowl or saucepan with a lid combine all the ingredients with a spoon. Add more salt, sugar, vinegar, garlic, green onion to taste. Cover and chill overnight and serve ice cold with a whole grain European style bread. Leave the dill in the container. Don’t add it to the serving bowl.